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Archive for March, 2012


This past weekend I and the other FrancisCorps volunteers took our Lenten retreat. FrancisCorps retreats are always good times to get away from work. This retreat in particular focused on us as individuals and learning about our qualities, positives ones and areas we need to improve upon. Without going too much into great detail about I wanted to share one thing about the retreat that stuck out to me, The Stations of the Cross.

As this week of our Lenten journey takes on a more serious and somber turn. Jesus as today’s Gospel alludes, knew of his coming death and the pain he would go through on his journey with the Cross. To remember and honor that, Catholics and other Christians participate in the Stations of the Cross. Created by the Franciscans as holy devotion the stations help us to see the human side of Jesus as he struggled to literally carry his cross. Likewise the stations serve for us as moment to not just walk in the steps of Jesus but to for Him to walk in our steps with us every step. 

Coming back to the retreat this weekend we did a stations devotion; however, it was a little different having reflections that apply to contemporary times. For me doing the stations helped me to realize the complex journey I have taken this year in ministry and all the people I have served. Secondly doing the stations made me see where Jesus had been in helping to bear my cross and the great love shown by Him on my behalf. Every step of the way he has been with me and you. Despite mine and your imperfections Jesus helps us to bear our cross. 

As Lent draws to a close and the journey draws the climax before the profound conclusion, lets incorporate the Stations of the Cross on our journey to not only walk in Christ’s steps but for Christ to walk with us jointly in our steps. Doing this we learn to carry our cross in the good and bad our lives with grace and love! 

To close I want to leave you with the  following two excerpts from the stations exercise we did from the 12th and 14th stations that I think are worth sharing and reflect on the FrancisCorps Stations of the Cross:  

We volunteers are confronted by examples of poverty on a daily basis and these examples change and mold us. The experiences I have as a volunteer will affect me for a lifetime. Jesus knew the ‘joy’ of the cross. Sacrifice, be it your own or the examples of others, can and will change your life. [Station 12: Jesus dies on the cross]

 

Yet if we look closely at the death of Jesus, he went down to the dead to be with them and finally to raise them up with him. By going to the tomb,  he brought us new life. In his footsteps we should all bring the message of peace, hope, love, and sacrifice to the places that are like tombs. [Station 14: Jesus is laid in the tomb]

 

 

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Today in the Catholic tradition marks the feast of St. Joseph spouse of Mary and foster father to Jesus. Often overshadowed by the hoopla of St. Patrick’s day, this feast day invites to take a look at very unknown–yet paramount figure in Jesus’s life and our lives if we know how to make the connection. We know very little about St. Joseph expect for two specific stories and he had passed on when Jesus started his mission, but we can surmise much from what we know as well as what we do not know. Just look at how Jesus turned out?! Joseph must have had some influence…some and perhaps lots of influence.

Joseph had no idea what he was getting into when he intended to marry Mary who was born without sin and who gave birth to the Son of God. And who was Joseph an imperfect human in the company of two of perhaps the greatest human figures in history. Imagine how he felt at the dinner table at night. Interestingly when you look past Joseph’s seemingly limited role you can find so much to admire. The fact that Joseph opened his heart and followed Mary to raise the Son of God is so amazing. And he gets so little credit or mention. How many Josephs do we know in our lives who are not in headlines for doing the most ordinary but still amazing deeds or work? I know a few and they are some of the greatest people in the world! Who serve and are selfless in their commitment to their labors on through thick and thin.

I suppose where this all fits in for me his learning to embrace the ordinary of life and to have an open heart like Joseph. My time in FrancisCorps has really helped to look beyond what I thought was impossible; the results has been a greater opening of my heart to faith and making my life more of a true calling rather than just a list of jobs or a career. I am exploring a few different paths for when I leave FrancisCorps. However having too much fear is not really a requirement.

Having an open heart has made me feel like I can accomplish so much more than I once thought possible. There are days I come home from work feeling like I can do almost anything. Within reason of course. As the last few months of FrancisCorps come and go I pray that I may keep this openness of heart to God. I hope to follow the amazing ordinariness example of St. Joseph. His “yes” to God was just a vital to Mary’s crucial “yes.” Such a simple openness of heart to God led to a great calling for Joseph. It can be the same likewise for you and me. Just stay open!

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As the month of February went so comes the madness of March. For the first time in at least 4 months our FrancisCorps community spent more time outside than inside enjoying a nice spring like day here in Syracuse. It really lifted our spirits to enjoy such a great day outside and the promise of more days like it come as the weather slowly warms–not that all of the snow or cold filled days are done. Still the sense of spring and promise of better weather has begun to left our spirits. 

Things are going well at my job sites. One very cool thing the staff and volunteers will be doing this month is having a float in the St. Patrick’s day parade. It promises to be a good event and I will firmly being in a parade. Our float will feature lots of Franciscan and St. Patrick related themes and characters. Somehow I was drafted to be portray the man St. Patrick himself on our float. I will have costume and all the trimmings. Not sure how it will turn out but expect pictures. It promises to be a real fun event! 

On a different note, it being the start of the second week of Lent, I just happened to listen to today’s Gospel reading on the “Transfiguration.” Pondering through its meaning I started to note the number of times I had been transfigured or had been a witness to another transfiguration. Then I realized this whole blog has been a witness to a continuous path of self-transfiguration for myself the last few months. However, today’s Gospel added another element to the story, resurrection. 

The experiences and insights I have made here (and they are many) have set me up to become a new and more developed person. As I consider what paths I want to pursue in the immediate aftermath and more long-term after FrancisCorps, the old me is starting to give way to newer me. Like Christ and St. Francis I have had my own self-transfiguration year with FrancisCorps. 

Every year of Lent we are asked to be active witnesses to the transfiguration of Christ in our own lives. However, transfiguration is only half of the way. We have to go through the steps and motions to meet Him at the Resurrection. Lent is only in its second week and life’s path of transfiguration is not always like Christ’s. And I still have much more of my journey to go in FrancisCorps;yet, I recognize the wonder path of self-transfiguration I have been on these past few months.

I pray my Lenten experience and the rest of the remaining time at FrancisCorps will lead me to closer to the resurrection of Christ this Easter and to many resurrections in life. Likewise let everyone have the same promise and path this season of Lent! 

Read Full Post »


As the month of February went so comes the madness of March. For the first time in at least 4 months our FrancisCorps community spent more time outside than inside enjoying a nice spring like day here in Syracuse. It really lifted our spirits to enjoy such a great day outside and the promise of more days like it come as the weather slowly warms–not that all of the snow or cold filled days are done. Still the sense of spring and promise of better weather has begun to left our spirits. 

Things are going well at my job sites. One very cool thing the staff and volunteers will be doing this month is having a float in the St. Patrick’s day parade. It promises to be a good event and I will firmly being in a parade. Our float will feature lots of Franciscan and St. Patrick related themes and characters. Somehow I was drafted to be portray the man St. Patrick himself on our float. I will have costume and all the trimmings. Not sure how it will turn out but expect pictures. It promises to be a real fun event! 

On a different note, it being the start of the second week of Lent, I just happened to listen to today’s Gospel reading on the “Transfiguration.” Pondering through its meaning I started to note the number of times I had been transfigured or had been a witness to another transfiguration. Then I realized this whole blog has been a witness to a continuous path of self-transfiguration for myself the last few months. However, today’s Gospel added another element to the story, resurrection. 

The experiences and insights I have made here (and they are many) have set me up to become a new and more developed person. As I consider what paths I want to pursue in the immediate aftermath and more long-term after FrancisCorps, the old me is starting to give way to newer me. Like Christ and St. Francis I have had my own self-transfiguration year with FrancisCorps. 

Every year of Lent we are asked to be active witnesses to the transfiguration of Christ in our own lives. However, transfiguration is only half of the way. We have to go through the steps and motions to meet Him at the Resurrection. Lent is only in its second week and life’s path of transfiguration is not always like Christ’s. And I still have much more of my journey to go in FrancisCorps;yet, I recognize the wonder path of self-transfiguration I have been on these past few months.

I pray my Lenten experience and the rest of the remaining time at FrancisCorps will lead me to closer to the resurrection of Christ this Easter and to many resurrections in life. Likewise let everyone have the same promise and path this season of Lent! 

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